Riley Nelson and Cody Hoffman were thorns all day for Tulsa. The pair connected for three touchdown passes, with the last helping BYU to a 24-21 victory over the Golden Hurricane Friday in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Ford Stadium in Dallas.
With 11 seconds remaining and Tulsa up by four points, the Cougars (10-3) were faced with second down-and-goal at the TU 2-yard line. Hoffman faked a spike before dropping back to pass. After he threw the ball, Hoffman caught it near the corner of the end zone for what would go down as the game-winning TD.
The Golden Hurricane tried some trickery on the ensuing kickoff, ranging from the hook-and-ladder to passing the ball to other teammates when about to be tackled. But to no avail. Eventually, one TU player fumbled, a BYU player recovered and time expired.
TU finishes the 2011 season at 8-5, including two straight losses at the end. Before falling to Houston in the regular season finale and suffering the bowl loss to BYU, the Hurricane surged to seven straight wins after a 1-3 start.
In his last game in a Tulsa uniform, G.J. Kinne also threw three TD passes. He finished with 214 yards while completing 17 passes out of 31 attempts. Bryan Burnham caught four passes for 113 yards with one TD.
Tulsa had the upper hand throughout most of the first half.
The first of Kinne’s TD strikes came on the opening drive, where he connected with Ricky Johnson from eight yards. The Hurricane defense kept the Cougars from scoring on their first two possessions, but BYU cracked the scoreboard with a 35-yard field goal by Justin Sorenson with 17 seconds left in the first quarter.
Kinne hit Clay Sears for a 14-yard TD, making the score 14-3 with 8:45 remaining in the first half.
BYU got some momentum before halftime with Nelson and Hoffman’s first TD, which came with 12 seconds left in the first half. That trimmed the TU lead to 14-10. The score was set up when Tulsa fumbled a punt deep in its own territory, which was recovered by the Cougars.
BYU got its first lead of the game at 17-14 when Nelson and Hoffman connected for a 30-yard TD with 1:41 left in the third quarter.
TU moved back in front as Kinne hit Burnham in the end zone for 30 yards and it was 21-17.
The key play on the Cougars’ game-winning drive came when they faced fourth down-and-9 at the TU 47-yard line. They opted to go for it instead of punting, and Tulsa could not stop Nelson from getting a first down on a 14-yard scamper.
Nelson threw for 250 yards on 17-of-40 passes and two interceptions, both made by Dexter McCoil. Hoffman caught eight passes for 122 yards.